Rou Gui - Wuyi Oolong Tea - Spring, 2012
Varietal: Rou Gui
Alternate Names: Cassia Oolong; Cinnamon Oolong
Harvest: Spring, 2012
Growing Region: Wuyi Shan Scenic Area, Fujian Province
IMPORTANT NOTE: Do not expect a strong, overtly “cinnamony” taste from this tea. This is a moderately priced, Medium Roast Wuyi Oolong with a moderately strong, woody, fruity/floral and slightly spicy flavor profile. The “cinnamon” aspect of this tea’s flavor/aroma might not be apparent to some, just like the hint of tobacco or anise might not be as apparent to some in a glass of red wine.
Rou Gui translates as “Cassia Bark” in English. Sometimes this tea is sold as “Cinnamon Oolong” since Cassia Bark is what is commonly sold as Cinnamon in the West. Cinnamon and Cassia are used interchangeably in the global spice market mainly because they taste very similar and “real” Sri Lankan Cinnamon (from Cinnamomum Verum trees) is so difficult to get a hold of.
This batch of Rou Gui was hand harvested and processed in the Spring season of 2012 inside the Wuyi Shan National Scenic area at an altitude of approximately 800 meters above sea level. The roast is moderate, which is apparent from the olive green color of the leaves when wet.
Appearance, Flavor & Aroma:
This tea’s dry leaves are the long and twisting shape and dark greenish-brown color of most Wu Yi Yan Cha, and the fragrance of the dry leaves is mildly toasty and nutty. The flavor of the medium-bodied, amber-colored infusion is woody, bittersweet, toasty, and sweet-spicy (where the cinnamon/cassia from the name comes in) with hints of flowers. The tea flavor is assertive, and the spicy, bittersweet aftertaste builds steadily in the mouth over a series of infusions.
We strongly suggest Gong Fu style preparation with this tea. Try starting with 7 grams of leaf in a 150 ml gaiwan or teapot using water just off the boil. This tea can become bitter if over-infused, so keep infusion times short at first.
For Western-style steeping, start with a conservative 2 grams of leaf per cup (too much leaf can cause bitterness). Use water under a boil (195 degrees F), and steep for 3 minutes. Adjust the amount of leaf, steeping time, and water temperature used according to your preference.